8 design ideas for personalizing your rental apartment without making permanent changes

Ever feel like your rental space is just a bit too impersonal and generic? You’re not alone.
While landlords might allow common changes like painting walls or switching out light fixtures, there’s so much more you can do to make your space feel like home.

In 15 years working as interior designer I have transformed countless rental spaces, so now I’m here to tell you exactly how to get that designer look – without permanent changes that break the bank!
In this blog post, I’ll share my best creative, renter-friendly, and budget-conscious design tips that will help you personalize your rental and make it truly yours.

8 design ideas for personalizing your rental apartment

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Nadine, owner of Malmö based Interior Design Studio NH.DESIGN.

Hi, I’m Nadine

Interior design expert, globetrotter and the creative mind behind this blog and NH.DESIGN Studio.

I’m originally from Germany but have been living abroad for over 10 years, from Canada and the UK to Sweden.

Join my creative world on Instagram @nhdotdesign and find out more about me.

1. Removable wallpaper with a twist

Peel-and-stick wallpaper is fantastic, but don’t limit yourself to just the walls.
Use it to line the back of bookcases or the inside of cabinets for a pop of colour and pattern every time you open them. It’s a simple way to add personality where people least expect it.

2. Layering with rugs

If your rental has not-so-nice flooring, layering rugs can be a lifesaver. Think beyond the living room – add a runner in the hallway or a bold rug under the dining table. Experiment with different textures and patterns to create depth and interest.

3. Use textiles to transform your rental apartment

Textiles are your secret weapon for personalization. Throw pillows, blankets, and even fabric wall hangings can dramatically change the vibe of a room.
Try draping a beautiful throw over a sofa or headboard for an instant style upgrade.
Textiles are also a great budget-friendly way to change colours or even styles throughout the seasons.

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4. Temporary backsplashes

Kitchen and bathroom backsplashes often get overlooked in rentals. Use peel-and-stick tiles not only in the kitchen but also behind bathroom sinks. They’re easy to apply and can make a big difference in these spaces.

5. Innovative storage solutions

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of custom IKEA storage solutions, given that I’ve worked as designer for them for 10+ years.
If you want a built-in look and tons of storage, there’s no need to spend a lot of money on permanent cabinets built by a carpenter – with IKEA furniture as base you can customize your storage solution to fit your space and style, and change it anytime you want!

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6. Command hooks for everything

Command hooks, strips and self-adhesive tape in general aren’t just for pictures. Use them to hang lightweight shelves, curtain rods, and even plants. They’re versatile and won’t damage the walls, making them perfect for rentals.

7. Creative lighting

Good lighting can transform any space. If you can’t change the fixtures, get creative with table lamps, floor lamps, and string lights.
Battery-operated LED lights are amazing, too; you can stick them under cabinets or inside closets, and attach them to walls for extra light wherever you need it.

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Pro tip:

Match all the bulbs in one room to the same temperature for a cohesive look!

8. Personalized entryway

Let your rental home make a great first impression with a personalized entryway.
Add a small console table or a bench with storage baskets underneath. Use removable hooks for keys and a small gallery wall of art or photos to welcome you home.

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Need help transforming your home into a space you love?

With my full-service and virtual design services it's a piece of cake. Get in touch and let's design a space that feels like home!

Living in a rental home doesn’t mean you have to live in a generic space. With these 8 designer tips, you can temporarily inject your personal style into any rental and make it truly feel like home.

If you enjoyed this post, follow along for more interior design tips and inspiration on my Instagram @nhdotdesign and sign up for my weekly Welcome Home Letter.

Take care, Nadine

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